designing best books
The thoughts, motivations, and images that went into making Best Books, a blog for book reviews. Follow along through my design process and see how the finished brand turned out!
This is the first project I've ever done that needed to be a bit more "masculine." I hate thinking of anything with gender in mind, as design is for anyone and everyone. Nonetheless, my normal style is not what this blog needed. The right moodboard was even more essential.
First, I needed a palette. I started by searching "masculine color palette" on Pinterest and came up with this image from Hatch Design Workshop, as well as this image from Urban Outfitters. Both of these led me in the direction of blue with pops of white and leather orange. More inspiration came from yellowed old book pages, coffee, brick buildings, and rich blue wall colors that seem to be very in right now. Unsplash has so many amazing images of books to choose from! As I needed to get out of my normal creative tendencies, this board was definitely less about design and more about feel.
color palette and fonts
As I said, the color palette for this project almost assembled itself--all I had to do was tweak it to my liking. I absolutely loved naming these colors, too, since I am a huge book nerd myself (even pre-grad school). Epeolatry means "to worship words," and tsundoku is to buy books and pile them up without reading them. Shout out to this blog post for inspiring the color names!
(PS, who caught the Harry Potter reference?)
Part of why I did not need inspiration in the moodboard for typography was because I already had a clear image in mind of what I wanted to do. The plain sans Kiona won out a tough battle between three very similar fonts, but I ultimately chose it because of the wonderfully geometric K. Flassty looks like a hastily scribbled note on the margin of a book page, and Proxima Nova is a really simple and accessible sans serif for reading book reviews on the blog.
logos and elements
I absolutely LOVE the elements that I ended up with here! The idea for the interlocking B mark was the first thought of this whole project, and I carried it over to the Os when designing the primary logo. I also wanted strong geometric marks that echoed the font style, so I went with clean squares and triangles.
The additional icons are for collateral branding and I ended up using them for the Instagram icons, too. Each one is custom drawn and individually distressed with a transparent mask. I wanted to make them seem like they had been stamped into a book, and the overall effect actually adds to the more masculine look!
brand ideology & imagery
Branding is still something new to me, but I felt that this blog needed to reflect the person running it as well as the desired "aesthetic." So, I landed on:
Anyone who loves books is going to be curious and knowledgeable, so the aim is to create relatability. The brand itself is striking and modern, and the blogger is witty and charming. These things combined go into Best Books.
collateral design: seamless patterns
Creating seamless patterns has become a new passtime of mine, as it is so satisfying seeing how repeating squares fit together. These, however, are not repeating patterns, they are just cool designs that can be used to create wonderful brand content. My favorite is definitely the multicolored line design (and I can see it as a website header!), but all of them are great.
The geometric patterns were inspired by fabric designs and then created in Illustrator with the same grungy transparency overlay. I then played around with the marks I had made and ended up loving the circle design, so I kept it just in case it could work somewhere else on the blog design.
Because this blog is still in the works, these are subject to change. However, I couldn't help but think the additional marks were perfect for social media icons. Each of the items—the hat, headphones, book, watch, and leather jacket—all represent things the blogger uses and loves. Again, cultivating relatability and connectivity.
I went to TOWN on creating art images for this brand. I couldn't help it—all of the patterns, icons, logos, and book images just spoke to me! My favorites are probably the ones with the patterns, but I also do love a repeating word art piece. And these are only the ones I could fit on this page!
I've made an Unsplash collection of rustic, vintage inspired book images that I think really work for book business branding, so check that out if you are in search of cool free photos to use in branding!
That's it for now! I am really looking forward to developing the website for this blog, too, but that is a job for the future. What do you think so far?
Be sure to check out this and other projects on my Instagram @mugglehugstudio!